This post has been a long time coming. I started this project in August 2016, and completed it in November of the same year, or May 2017 depending on how you figure it. So a blog post is well overdue!
The pattern is Blank Canvas by Ysolda Teague, which as written is a fitted, bottom-up jumper with waist dart shaping and 3/4 sleeves. Over time I’ve become more and more convinced of Ysolda’s pattern writing chops – not only does she produce truly unique, beautiful designs, her patterns contain that elusive element of being fun to knit. This pattern was no exception – the saddle shoulder / raglan hybrid (she refers to it as a “raddle” yoke) forms an elegant line which frames the upper chest and avoids the squished, bisected look that a traditional raglan can create.
Of course, I rarely see a pattern as anything more than a starting point for modifications now. My usual mod of knitting from the top down didn’t quite work out for this pattern. No amount of swatching and research produced an increase that would be a visual match for the bold K3tog line that forms the yoke. (If you know any, let me know!)
So, I switched to the next-best method and decided to provisional cast on just beneath the underarms, then knit the garment both upwards towards the yoke, and downwards to the hem. I’ll share another post on this, as there’s a bit more detail involved. Otherwise, I lengthened the sleeves and body, working my own rate of shaping for each (more details on my Ravelry page).
Sounds simple enough. But OHMYGOODNESS did this garment require a lot of ripping and reknitting! First came the sleeves – I was knitting bottom up, and one of the first sleeves I made was dramatically different in size to the other. The reason for this eluded me, so I just knit another sleeve and chose the two that were closest in size.
Next was the body: I thought I’d got the fit right after experimenting with waist darts, but the blocked, finished garment was huge! As this was in the height of summer, I shoved it aside and figured I’d wear it in winter. But I didn’t. It made me feel frumpy, and measuring revealed my gauge had loosened up so much in the lower body section as to make the knitting sloppy.
There was nothing for it but to rip the jumper to a few rows after the provisional cast on, and reknit the body on smaller needles (with fewer hip increases). I’m so glad I did, as I love the fit now, and wear it all the time.
As for the yarn, it is my first KnitPicks purchase – Swish DK, a 100% superwash merino. It was lovely to knit with, and miles above any Australian chain yarn in both price and quality (looking at you, Cleckheaton and Bendigo Woollen Mills). However, I am disappointed with the pilling after two gentle blockings and a few wears. I understand merino will pill, but the rate is a bit quicker than I would like.
And the final verdict? I think this may be the perfect versatile jumper. It is easily adapted to various styles, works in a variety of yarns, and looks fabulous on all those clever clogs on Ravelry who have knitted it. Blank Canvas is an apt name!
Pattern: Blank Canvas by Ysolda Teague, my Ravelry page
Pattern details: Bottom up, darted, 3/4 sleeve jumper pattern with raglan / saddle shoulder hybrid yoke. Available as a PDF pattern download from Ravelry or Ysolda’s shop.
Yarn: 9.14 skeins = 1028.0 meters (1124.2 yards), 457 grams Knit Picks Swish DK (100% merino) in Marble Heather
Needles: 4mm needles for body (changed to 3.75mm when reknitting), 4.5mm for body cast off
– Provisional cast on just beneath underarms and knit up for yoke, down for body
– Worked full length sleeves with own shaping
– Worked own body shaping for slightly more ease and better placed darts, longer body
– Knit longer ribbing at sleeve and body hems (1.5″ and 2″ respectively)
– Grafted underarm sts instead of 3 needle bind off
– Cast off using modified stretchy bind off on slightly larger needles for body (4.5mm)